Playstation 4 lead architect Mark Cerny sat down with Stuff.tv and he talked about a concept that struck my interest. As a gamer, I am all about immersion and being sucked into whatever world is being shown. As you’re sitting down traversing through part of Tamriel in “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” for example, you start to get the feeling that this is a living, breathing environment as opposed to lines upon lines of code.
Speaking of immersion, what if I were to tell you that your senses could be picked up through the controller in your hands?
Cerny said that, during the development of the upcoming PlayStation 4, the console developers considered the idea of a controller that would actually measure a player’s stress levels. Basically, it would pick up on the sweatiness of one’s palms, which is typically a good indicator of stress itself. The development crew seemed especially intrigued by the possibility as they, “…went to the game teams to ask them what they however they could use from the controller.”
It’s hard for me to look at this concept and not feel the least bit driven to say, “Hey, Sony, maybe this isn’t the best idea considering a lack of focus.” The reason that I say this is, while the company has proven itself in the gaming world, it has experimented with quirky gadgets to varying degrees of success. For example, the PlayStation Move – while reaching 4.1 million sales two months after its release – was not exactly supported immensely later on. It exists, yes, but there hasn’t been a Move-exclusive title that’s driven me to scour eBay.
Do not get me wrong; I am all for a concept that is able to draw you into a world more than what your eyes and sense of disbelief could. What I picked up on, based on Cerny’s words, was that the FPS genre would be considered most feasible. While he isn’t necessarily wrong, what about a true survival horror experience, perhaps something closer to the original “Resident Evil?” It’s not so much about combat as it is about item management and sheer survival. The aforementioned 1996 classic is already nerve-racking but you could imagine the sweat of your palms being picked up by the controller, the game in question upping the terrifying ante in response?
It seems like Sony is going to keep this experiment to themselves for the time being, seeing as how the DualShock 4 will not possess technology to detect moisture. Who’s to say whether or not such an idea could gain traction? Sony’s reputation management, in my eyes at least, has been rather positive since their conference at E3 last month. Maybe Sony loyalists, at the very least, would get a kick out of this level of functionality.
I may not be fully supportive of Sony deviating from the basic game experience but this does sound like an intriguing – if not potentially unnerving – concept. Maybe we can see said concept ten years down the road when the PlayStation 5 is starting to gain ground. Until that time comes, I’m content with the idea of perspiration privacy.